• Echoes across a half century: Ray Bradbury's Leviathan '99

      Nichols, Philip; Morrissey, Thomas J; De Los Santos, Oscar (Fine Tooth Press, 2007-08-21)
      What happens when an SF writer branches out of the genre and collides with a nineteenth-century precursor? When Ray Bradbury was commissioned, fifty years ago, to write a screenplay based on Moby Dick, the power of that collision created reverberations through the remainder of Bradbury's career. His experience in crafting a streamlined narrative from Melville's discursive novel was to affect his approach to dramatization of his own stories. His experience in Ireland working on the screenplay would provide material for countless Irish stories, plays and a novel (Green Shadows, White Whale). Bradbury's fascination with Melville saw his continued development, from the early 1960s, of Leviathan '99. Glibly describable as “Moby-Dick in space”, Leviathan ‘99 has appeared as a radio play, stage play, opera, and finally a novel, a late-career return to the genre which brought Bradbury early success. This paper gives an account of Bradbury's original radio version of Leviathan 99 (BBC, 1968). It relates the play's development to Bradbury's experiences working with John Huston on Moby Dick in the 1950s, traces some of the ripples from that experience through other of Bradbury's work, and characterizes the intertextuality of Leviathan ‘99 as typical of Bradbury’s approach.